As part of the standard line of questioning we have grown accustomed to is “have you traveled in the last 14 days?”. This makes me want to start an argument every time I hear it, as it doesn’t make any sense! On the flip side, you never get asked ” have you been to a ( for example ), Home Depot or 7-11, shopping, or , unfortunately, a political “rally , or ANYWHERE local for that matter, in the last 14 days?”,
Here are just a few questions you hear quite often;
- In the past 14 days, have you traveled internationally
- To the best of your knowledge, in the past 14 days, have you been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes) with anyone while they had COVID-19?
- In the past 10 days, have you tested positive for COVID-19
- Have you experienced a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, a new cough, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath within the past 10 days?
The funny thing is , although these questions are not completely stupid, what I do find stupid is the fact that no-one is worried about anything other than these few examples! It seems to me, that people think, for whatever reason that this is the end all of risk factors, and that they are gospel. It is not , (in my opinion)! I do not claim to be an epidemiologist or expert in covid, or any other virus, my degree(s) are only in Sociology ! With that said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out!
The Safety of Traveling During Covid
Many people think that travel is the devil right now; this could not be further from the truth! I understand where this train of thought comes from, but it is really misguided, and doesn’t not apply anymore!
In the begining of the pandemic, people were coming and going, without testing, from many parts of the world and was spreading the virus like wildfire, this is true. Whats changed is , now we have robust testing, tracing, and MANY safety protocols that makes traveling MUCH-LESS of a risk that it once was!
You must realize, the travel industry was flush with cash when all this began! Delta airlines, for example,recently gave the biggest profit sharing bonus in history to all of their employees, right before covid started! They had the money to do the right thing and spend spend spend in order to keep the industry from crashing beyond repair, as they are doing today, even more! The last thing the travel industry wants, is for people to stop traveling, therfore they are doing EVERYTHING possible to keep that from happening!
Here are a few things thats being done within the travel industry to mitigate or eliminate the risks involved in travel;
- Most airlines are blocking middle seats to make it easier to Sociol distance
- Some airlines are boarding the plane , back to front ,in comparison to how they used to do it. This lessens the contact as people boarding the plane standing and waiting right next to you seated in the front!
- Fully sanitizing and cleaning the entire plane with cleaners, fogs, mists, and every possible method, each time the plane lands and passengers de-plane
- providing hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes so you can re-clean the area around your seat if you so wish, and always have sanitized hands
- Requiring that ALL passengers and employees wear masks! Many are going so far as to BAN un-compliant travelers for life from flying on their airline! This is a bold, yet wonderful move on their part! I may be partial to Delta, but the truth is, they are, by far being the best about this!
- Delta has even purchased special trays that TSA uses during the security screening process that will kill even more germs! (we all know just how nasty these trays really are!)
- Some airlines and airports are now offering pre-departure Covid testing, I wrote about it here!
Hotels are doing their part as well! Again, they want people to travel and stay with them. Therefore they have to practice safety protocols to keep people health and also reassure travelers.
- Most major hotel chains are requiring staff and and guests to wear masks in all public areas
- Most major hotel chains are taking your temperature whenever you enter the property! (I am currently staying at the Sheraton in Puerto Vallarta , and I have literally had my temperature taken more in the last few days here, than I have since the pandemic started!)
- Hotel chains are also fully disinfecting rooms after each guest and most are living it empty for a minimum of 24 hours before renting it to someone else!
- Some hotels around the world are actually having you step in a “decontamination booth” before you enter the lobby!
On the flip side of the coin, is everyday shopping in our hometown or state. We have all been somewhere! Most of us have been to the grocery store, gas station, home improvement store, beauty shop, etc. I know in the state that I have been in the last 6 months (Oklahoma), even early on in the pandemic, almost everyone went to get home improvement items, groceries, etc, and if half the people were wearing masks, you were lucky! There is a mask mandate in place in most major cities in Oklahoma, and the USA in general, yet even now, most people aren’t wearing a mask.
Heres a personal experience I had a few weeks ago;
My farm is in the country, and the closest “big” town to me is in reality a small town! One morning on my way to Oklahoma City, I stopped to get a drink at the local convent store (which is a major chain in Oklahoma). I entered, with my mask on of course, and before I realized I was already inside and noticed that I was the only person wearing a mask with apx 20 people (employees and patrons). Not only was no-one wearing a mask, the staff was also serving food to people, (Gas Station Food) speaking to them over the food case, asking them questions, ” Did you say you wanted 3 or 6 piece chicken hon” ,without a mask.
I can tell you, this store does NOT clean every surface every few hours, they certainly don’t fog, or spray , and lets just say, its not the cleanest! As is the case in most stores, bars and more!
One issue that spurred me to write this, is the fact of travel shaming. People seem to treating those of us that travel as lepers or “exposed”.
I went to Vegas a month or so ago, and when I returned, I had a few clients that would not be around me, which , honestly hurt my feelings and made me feel frustrated, but then I realized, they just didn’t have the facts. I took a covid test, and tested negative just to put people at ease, but the thing that frustrated me the most, is they didn’t care if I had been to a bar in the last few days, or a store, party, etc, JUST THAT I HAD TRAVELED! In the end, I dealt with it with as much grace as possible. After this current trip, I will also get covid test (s), as I’m sure this , unwarranted will happen again!
Just with the small amount of information that I have given you here, its plain to see that its not only , JUST AS SAFE, in many cases its actually safer traveling then it is to go about town. Some people feel being close to home they are safer, but in the example of Oklahoma, where my second home is, its is a huge hotspot where most people are, well, let’s face it, selfish, and do not wear masks. If you’re flying, your REQUIRED to wear masks on a plane that has been fumigated and cleaned before you board, or in a hotel where you must wear masks and everything is also sanitized, the choice is clear what is actually safer!
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your comfort level, but I hope by reading this and doing your own research, you will be able to make a informed decision, and travel with a little more comfort, and confidence!
If you have ANY questions, please ask, I will do my best to provide whatever information you need to put yourself at ease!
Thanks for reading and PLEASE, TRAVEL MORE!